The IFRS Foundation has today taken a step further in implementing its global footprint for the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) with the opening of a new office in Beijing, China.
When the creation of the ISSB was announced at COP26 in November 2021, the IFRS Foundation also announced its plans to give the ISSB a global footprint by operating from offices in Beijing, Frankfurt, Montreal and San Francisco in addition to its offices in London and Tokyo.
The opening of the office in China follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the IFRS Foundation and the Ministry of Finance of China in December 2022.
The Beijing office will work with the Foundation’s other offices in supporting the ISSB’s work, with staff focused on leading and executing the ISSB’s strategy for emerging and developing economies, acting as a hub for stakeholder engagement in Asia, facilitating deeper co-operation and engagement with stakeholders, and undertaking capacity building activities for emerging economies, developing countries and SMEs. The office will serve as the base for ISSB member Bing Leng. ISSB Vice-Chair Jingdong Hua, who is responsible for overseeing the ISSB’s capacity building and engagement across developing and emerging economies, will regularly visit the office.
The office will host the first meeting of the ISSB in China during the week commencing 13 November 2023. Coinciding with that meeting, on 17 November 2023, the IFRS Foundation will also work with local partners to co-host its first sustainability-focused conference in China. The Foundation will provide further information about the conference as it becomes available.
The office will be run by Zhengwei Zhang, who has been appointed as Beijing Office Director and Special Adviser to the ISSB Chair Emmanuel Faber. Mr Zhang has most recently served as Director-General at the Ministry of Finance of China. He has more than 20 years of leadership experience in international economic and financial cooperation, covering sustainable development, financial stability and regional economic cooperation and integration. He also has extensive experience in development finance, having worked for the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and other investment institutions. Mr Zhang is a qualified accountant.
Erkki Liikanen, Chair of the IFRS Foundation Trustees, said:
We are delighted to work with our Chinese partners to open an office in Beijing. China, as the world’s second largest economy and a major component in global supply chains, is an important jurisdiction in enabling the ISSB’s delivery of a global baseline of sustainability disclosures to meet the information needs of investors.
Zhongming Zhu, Vice Minister of Finance of China, said:
China is fully committed to supporting the work of the ISSB and the development of global sustainability disclosure standards. We are excited to welcome the IFRS Foundation and the ISSB to Beijing and look forward to supporting the development of the office into a hub for engagement, cooperation, capacity building and innovation.
Linmao Xia, Vice Mayor of Beijing said:
Beijing Municipality Government will cooperate with the Ministry of Finance of China to provide support for the IFRS Foundation Beijing office operation in accordance with the previous commitments. At the same time, Beijing Municipality Government will also actively support the promotion and application of the IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards, and is willing to carry out exchanges and cooperation with the IFRS Foundation Beijing office.
The ISSB has had regular engagement with the Ministry of Finance of China through the Jurisdictional Working Group. China―through the Ministry of Finance’s Accounting Regulatory Department―is also represented on the Sustainability Standards Advisory Forum, an advisory body to the ISSB.